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TAT – does it really make a difference?

A practical case study informed by theory and practice in South Africa


Presented at the 2023 Virtual ACSG Conference

on 16 March 2023 from 11:45 - 12:30


A selection AC was developed for a South African organisation operating in a niche engineering field. Several candidates took part in the selection AC that was specifically developed and customised for different positions within the company, ranging from mid- to senior-level management. Trait Activation Theory (TAT) was employed as an intervention strategy in the design of the AC to ensure that candidates’ behaviour would be in line with the constructs (dimensions) being assessed and that the behaviours loading on the constructs would be sufficiently observed. The challenge was to design the exercises as such that the required behaviours for the niche engineering field (dredging) would be activated. This was a challenge since general constructs could not be applied without a great extent of customisation. The design was rooted in the theory on TAT and the results of my Master’s study and current research. The AC was successfully designed, executed and evaluated. Many implications for theory and practice resulted from this practical case.


Suzanne Gericke is a registered Industrial Psychologist with almost 10 years’ experience in human capital consulting and academia. She has worked in corporate consulting (including assessment centre work) since 2013 and completed her Masters in 2015. Suzanne’s Masters thesis focused on the use of Trait Activation Theory as an intervention in AC design, under the leadership of Prof. Deon Meiring. I have passionately worked with ACs/DCs since 2013, and currently run my own consulting firm Meraki Human Capital. Suzanne consult on the full talent management landscape and still incorporate ACs/DCs for a variety of purposes. She continues to do research and lecture part-time at the University of Pretoria. Suzanne is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Pretoria and has contributed to multiple book chapters and journal publications. She is affiliated with the Academy of Management and presented at the AOM conference in Boston in 2019 and was invited to participate in a symposium at the SIOP conference in Austin, Texas in 2020. Suzanne has presented at several ACSG and SIOPSA conferences since 2013.

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